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Earth Explorer is an online source of news, expertise and applied knowledge for resource explorers and earth scientists. Sponsored by Geosoft.


News & Views

News Archive

December 7, 2016

Geosoft introduces IP and resistivity inversion in VOXI Earth Modelling

Geosoft has added induced polarization and resistivity data inversion to its VOXI Earth Modelling 3D inversion software service. Geoscientists are now able to create detailed 3D models of conductivity and chargeability from IP and resistivity survey data with VOXI. The resulting models can assist in interpreting and targeting regions for mineral and environmental applications...

December 5, 2016

Mexico's Deepwater Round Exceeds Expectations

Some of the world's biggest oil companies showed up Dec. 5 and agreed to invest on the Mexican side of the Gulf of Mexico, proving that deepwater exploration still has a pulse despite challenging market conditions...

November 30, 2016

Magnetic inversion results for Ngamiland available for download

A regional-scale geophysical inversion of magnetic field data in the Ngamiland region of northwestern Botswana is now available for download from the Botswana Geoscience Portal, a partnership initiative of the Botswana Geoscience Institute, industry sponsors and Geosoft...

November 30, 2016

LIGO Resumes Search for Gravitational Waves

After a series of upgrades, the twin detectors of LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, have turned back on and resumed their search for ripples in the fabric of space and time known as gravitational waves. LIGO transitioned from their engineering test runs to full science observations at 8 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on November 30...

November 9, 2016

International Volcano Scientists Unite

For the first time, the United States will host the international Volcano Observatory Best Practices workshop, previously held only in Italy. The workshop will take place this month in Vancouver, Washington. It is designed specifically for volcano observatories around the world and their staff to exchange ideas and best practices with each other...

October 4, 2016

USGS Assesses Mineral Potential for Sagebrush Habitats in Six Western States

USGS has completed a comprehensive assessment and inventory of potential mineral resources covering approximately 10 million acres of Federal and adjacent lands in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming...

October 3, 2016

Uganda Targets Up to U.S.$100 Million for Mineral Exploration

Uganda is well endowed with mineral resources and, like many naturally-gifted African countries, is becoming keen on ensuring that these resources play a transformative role in its long-term structural transformation dream - the Vision 2040...

September 9, 2016

Small-Scale Fishers Get A Big Boost With First-Of-Its Kind Impact Investment Fund

Conservation organization Rare announces the Meloy Fund for Small-Scale Fisheries at Our Ocean Conference. The Global Environment Facility, one of the largest funders of conservation worldwide, will be investing $6 million into the fund...

September 1, 2016

Scientists take to the skies to track West African pollution

Scientists operating research aircraft over West Africa have detected organic materials in the atmosphere over a number of urban areas, contributing to concerns of the rise in pollution across the region...

August 17, 2016

New IGS Xplore prospectivity maps for Botswana

International Geoscience Services have released a series of base metal prospectivity maps for the Ngamiland District of northwestern Botswana using free geodata available on the recently-launched Botswana Geoscience Portal, hosted by Geosoft. The maps identify favorable areas for copper, zinc and lead mineralization using geological, geochemical and geophysical datasets downloaded directly from the portal.

August 11, 2016

NexGen Makes New High Grade Discovery

NexGen Energy reported the discovery of a new high grade zone of mineralization 4.7 km northeast of the Arrow Deposit as part of an on-going summer drilling program on its 100% owned, Rook I property, Athabasca Basin, Saskatchewan...

August 10, 2016

Rampion UXO Disposal to Take Place This Week

E.ON has confirmed that the two unexploded devices, detected along the Rampion offshore cable route will be safely disposed this week following the consultation with the Marine Management Organisation...

August 9, 2016

Diamonds In The Rough: E&Ps Find New Reserves In Mature Basins

The oil industry’s history demonstrates clearly that new plays and prospects have long been found in mature basins that were thought to be well on the way to being squeezed dry. Through the acquisition of new data, developing new concepts and coming up with fresh interpretations, long-producing basins around the world from the North Sea to Malaysia have continued to reveal new riches...

August 8, 2016

Northern Shield Identifies High Quality VTEM Targets at Séquoi

Northern Shield Resources announced the results of the interpretation and modelling of the VTEM survey from the Séquoi Property in the Labrador Trough of Quebec . Séquoi is owned 100% by Northern Shield and is being explored for Noril'sk style Ni-Cu-PGE massive sulphides. After geophysical modelling and interpretation of the VTEM data from Séquoi, six VTEM anomalies of significant interest have been identified...

August 3, 2016

Rio Tinto tailors big data drive to copper

Rio Tinto will put the weight of an exploration big data push and its newly-formed Growth and Innovation group behind its desire to identify a "tier 1" copper asset. Speaking at the annual Diggers & Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie, Growth and Innovation group executive Stephen McIntosh said Australia was "overdue for a tier 1" mineral discovery of any type...

August 1, 2016

Tetra Tech Awarded $200 Million Navy CLEAN Contract

Tetra Tech announced that it has been awarded a $200 million, single-award contract by Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic. Through the Comprehensive Long-term Environmental Action Navy (CLEAN) contract, Tetra Tech will provide environmental engineering support services to installations within the NAVFAC Atlantic Area of Responsibility...

May 3, 2016

NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS), MODUM Partners announce "Young Scientist Summer School on Sea Dumped Chemical Weapons"

This international project cooperates closely with CHEMSEA (Search and Assessment of Chemical Weapons) Project for and sharing and knowledge transfer...

April 12, 2016

Monday mad rush for gold stocks

Renewed optimism about the outlook for gold saw investors pile back into gold stocks, pushing many stock to 52-week highs in heavy volumes...

April 11, 2016

Medgold Resources: Continues to Expand the Boticas Gold Project, Portugal; Proposes $200,000 Private Placement

Medgold Resources is pleased to announce new assay results from contiguous rock-chip sampling from the Limarinho South zone at its Boticas gold project in Portugal, which include a highlight of 6.0m @ 5.7 g/t Au...

April 8, 2016

De-carbonizing our energy sector

Nuclear energy currently provides around 11 percent of the world's electricity. China, the European Union, the United States, India, Russia, South Korea, and other nations’ have major existing fleets...

April 1, 2016

Follow-Up Drilling Results Indicate Wide Gold Zones at Hendricks Gold Discovery

Gascoyne Resources Limited announced that it has received the final assay results from the 10,000 metre aircore exploration drilling programme...

March 26, 2016

The Oil Market Is Finally Hitting Its Breaking Point

After a significant reduction in investments over the past two years, oil companies can no longer overcome the production declines from legacy wells...

March 15, 2016

N-Sea Expands into the French Offshore Wind Industry

Subsea IMR provider, N-Sea, has signed a letter of intent with CERES Recherches & Expertise Sous-Marine and TechSub Industrie Environement, to provide subsea survey, installation and remediation services to the French offshore wind industry...

March 9, 2016

PDAC 2016 Convention Exceeds 22,000 Attendees

Optimism and opportunity abounded at the PDAC 2016 Convention of The Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada in spite of recent industry challenges...

March 3, 2016

6 Alpha Launches EOD Contracting Division

6 Alpha Associates, a specialist risk consultancy practice, with expertise in the assessment and management of unexploded ordnance, has launched a dedicated explosive ordnance disposal division...

Room for Rent: Virtual data rooms for mineral explorers

by Virginia Heffernan on June 27, 2013 technology

[Click to enlarge]

Virtual data rooms provide a cost-effective solution for exploration companies with ever-increasing compliance and information management needs. Shown above is the Firmex virtual data room.  

Partnering with Firmex, Geosoft is offering a virtual data room service for mineral exploration companies to share confidential documents related to corporate governance, financial, M&A and joint venture activity.

As the Eagle’s Nest exploration project in Ontario’s Ring of Fire region blossomed into a potential mine, the exchange of data between the camp in the James Bay Lowlands and Noront Resources’ corporate headquarters in Toronto became overwhelming.

Frustrated by files that were too big to download, insecure data transfers, and slow upload times, Noront hired an IT firm that moved the Eagle’s Nest data onto an FTP server for easier and more secure access. An added advantage was that Noront could store all its corporate documents, such as 43-101 reports, environmental assessments, and tax documents, in the same place.

Although the FTP solution was a significant improvement compared to the patchwork of e-mails and storage devices Noront had been using previously, it was not ideal. Uploads and downloads at the camp remained annoyingly slow and occasionally timed out, and Noront had trouble navigating the site and providing access to specific folders.

Noront cut ties with the IT firm and was casting about for alternatives when it came upon Firmex, a Toronto-based technology company that provides virtual data rooms for a range of corporations, including 60% of the Fortune 100 and seven of the top 10 mining companies. A virtual data room is an online, cloud-based service for organizing and sharing large volumes of confidential documents. 

The data room provided a logical solution for a junior exploration company that had massive documents and files moving back and forth, and a desire to satisfy the information requirements of both potential and existing shareholders.

“Having a virtual data room has definitely improved communications with our investors,” says Matt Downey, senior geologist for Noront. “It has removed IT headaches and made data transfer a lot more efficient. “Last week I did a 40-gigabyte upload and instead of taking days, it took hours.”

Downey appreciates that the data room was quick to set up, allowing him to simply drag and drop files from Windows into the cloud.  And if any of Noront’s users have a problem or question, they have 24/7 access to support, a bonus for exploration companies that may be working, or have investors, in more than one time zone.

Motivated by Noront’s story and others like it, Geosoft recently announced that it has partnered with Firmex to offer a virtual data room service tailored to the needs of mineral exploration companies.

The data room solution, powered by Firmex, adds to Geosoft’s existing services and technology for exploration information management which enable companies to validate, catalogue, and share their exploration data.

While Geosoft’s focus is on helping explorers manage and interpret spatial, iterative information such as results from magnetic surveys or soil-sampling programs, Geosoft CEO Tim Dobush recognizes the added benefit of being able to store more static corporate, financial and technical documents in the cloud.

“Juniors are facing a lot of pressure when it comes to access to capital, and here is an opportunity for us to reduce their costs,” says Dobush.  “They can now keep their corporate governance information in a secure site, accessible from anywhere in the world. This reduces their overhead costs without compromising security, accessibility and scalability.”

The virtual data room solution is economic compared with the cost of hiring an IT firm or individual. It also saves explorers from having to waste time managing documents when they could be finding orebodies.

“There are cash costs associated with not having a data room, but there are also intangible costs,” says Joel Lessem, CEO of Firmex. “These range from frustration with FTP servers and documents getting caught up in e-mail filters to losing information or just not having any visibility.”

The flexibility and scalability of the subscription-based service make the virtual data room an especially good fit for companies in the cyclical mineral exploration sector – companies which may have plenty of capital to spend on technology one year but be strapped for cash the next.

And with public equity markets becoming less accessible to explorers, juniors are finding more occasion to share that information as they turn to alternative sources of funding such as royalty companies, private equity firms, and sovereign wealth funds, or merge together to survive. Being able to showcase their assets in a virtual data room allows them to woo potential suitors with ease and professionalism.

Lessem says Firmex’s mining customers, including such names as Canadian Zinc Corporation, Cirque Resources and AQM Copper, are especially keen on having their corporate documents and data encrypted in the cloud. The virtual trail helps them maintain regulatory compliance while allowing potential investors to access information securely at the drop of a hat.

“Velocity helps,” Lessem says. “Some companies have limited time to do a deal at the burn rates they have.  If they have all their information organized online, it’s going to make the process easier.”

Subscribers can control who sees certain information and monitor what different users are looking at and downloading. That’s invaluable for companies such as Brigus Gold, which is based in Halifax, trades in both Canada and the U.S., and has projects in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

“We’ve been able to provide access to data in a straightforward manner to teams of financiers, bankers, and auditors that are dispersed worldwide,” says Brigus CFO Jon Legatto. “The Firmex virtual data room service is professional, secure and reliable. It gives us everything we need through a user-friendly interface and at a reasonable cost.”


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